Get more bang for your buck at these popular stores.

Michelle Darrisaw
November 16, 2017
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

There’s one thing most people look forward to the day after Thanksgiving. No, not the leftover turkey sandwiches, although those are great, too. Actually, what we’re referring to here is the national shopping holiday—Black Friday.

If there ever were a time you need to prepare yourself (and your wallet) for a nonstop shopping marathon, it’s Black Friday. However, with so many retailers advertising discounts, extra savings, and special BOGO deals, it’s difficult to determine which bargains or worth chasing and which stores you shouldn’t bother wheeling your cart in on November 24. Thanks to the efficient data crunchers at WalletHub, a personal finance website, we now know which top stores are offering the best discounts on Black Friday. For those of you who won’t be store-hopping this holiday season, the data even accounts for online shopping. Before we delve into the percentages and all the mathematical mumbo-jumbo, you should know that Southern favorites JCPenney and Belk round out the top five.

WalletHub surveyed approximately 10,000 Black Friday store deals from 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ advertisements. Then researchers mined the data even further to determine which stores offered the biggest discounts across various categories, such as appliances, apparel, accessories, and toys.

Kohl’s and JCPenney topped the list with the highest overall discount rate at 66.3 percent. Department store giants Sears and Macy’s, took seventh and eighth place, respectively. Costco, Ace Hardware, and Bass Pro Shops ranked the lowest.

"Typically, department stores, such as Kohl's and JCPenney, offer the best Black Friday deals," wrote WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez in an email to Southern Living. "It's prime time for them, and they're looking to draw customers in who typically shop online throughout the year by offering limited-time doorbusters in very small quantities."

According to WalletHub, here are the top 15 stores and online retailers worth waking up early for the day after Thanksgiving:

  1. Kohl's — 66.32%
  2. JCPenney — 66.30%
  3. Belk  — 62.75%
  4. Stage — 60.82%
  5. Shopko — 55.93%
  6. Bealls Florida — 52.78%
  7. Sears — 50.09%
  8. Macy's — 45.58%
  9. Fred Meyer — 43.88%
  10. AAFES — 37.25%
  11. Amazon — 36.8%
  12. Target — 36.2%
  13. Kmart — 35.8%
  14. Dick's Sporting Goods — 35.1%
  15. Office Depot and OfficeMax — 34.5%

You can view the remaining 20 stores and their discount percentages here. In addition, experts at WalletHub also warned against consumers falling for Black Friday marketing traps, suggesting that shoppers should aim for a 37 percent discount or higher when filling their carts.

"Black Friday deals are designed to get customers in the door so that they will buy other products while they are there," wrote Susan Mudambi, Research Professor of Marketing at Temple University. "A common consumer trap is to think, ‘I saved $100 on this bargain, so I have $100 of free money to spend in the store.’ Savvy consumers focus not on how much money they save by buying a Black Friday offer. Instead, they examine the deals before entering the store, set a shopping budget, and then question every item as to whether they really need it or not."

Of the 11 categories surveyed, the apparel and accessories category had the biggest share of discounted items at 28 percent, which was a higher share than toys and appliances.    

"Although toys, electronics, and appliances do have significant discounts this time of year, they're not the best of the bunch," Gonzalez elaborated. "Retailers know these items fly off the floor regardless of price, so many come with other perks like free gift cards to add some type of buying incentive."

"This year, the apparel and accessories category has the highest concentration of discounts, accounting for nearly a third of the total," added Gonzalez. "However, jewelry has the highest average discount at 59 percent, closely followed by books, movies, and music at 57 percent."

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Judging by this data, you should definitely make a beeline for Kohl’s and JCPenney to check off your holiday list. While you’re at it, grab a sweater, a fancy necklace, and a few books for your family and friends as well.